For Staff Sgt. Victor Medina winning the Black Hat of the Year competition was a family affair.
“I don’t know who was more excited,” said his wife Angelica after Medina received the Black Hat with gold parachutist badge that signifies the best of 1st Battalion (Airborne), 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment, cadre.
“The kids and I quizzed him on his classes,” she said. “He practiced and rehearsed a lot. But I think we are more excited and very proud of his win.” Medina and his wife have three children, Aaron, 13, Victor Jr., 11, and Yulianna, who is almost 1 year old. Being Black Hat of the Year demonstrates an Airborne instructor’s proficiency, said Medina, who found out he would represent B Company when he returned from Sapper School at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., in August. The competition started in September.
“The competition was very tough this year,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Chip Mezzaline, the battalion’s senior enlisted Soldier. “The top three candidates were separated by just a few points. It was the jumpmaster personnel inspection and mystery events that determined the winner.”
Both Medina and his wife said practicing the classes, knowing all the Airborne instructions verbatim took a lot of work. From Austin, Texas, he joined the Army in 2002 and went to Airborne School in 2004. After a 15-month deployment with the 1st Armored Division to Iraq, Medina and his family moved to Fort Benning in March 2009 when Medina was assigned as “Sergeant Airborne.”
“I like this job a lot,” Medina said. “I never thought I would be an instructor when I was in Airborne School. I just wanted to be an Airborne Soldier, part of that elite group. Now, I’m teaching Soldiers how to be successful in their careers. It all starts here.” “Staff Sergeant Medina is a constant professional who is an expert at Airborne operations. He will represent the Black Hat of the Year well.”